“Is That Your Boyfriend?” An Experiential and Theoretical Approach to Understanding Gender-Bending in Virtual Worlds

Part of the Springer Series in Immersive Environments book series (SSIE)


This chapter aims to provide analyses of real-life player interactions in multiplayer online games/virtual worlds, using traditional theories of identity from sociological and psychological perspectives. The chapter focuses on actual player experiences and social interactions in several online environments. Central to these player experiences are the related theoretical and psychological concepts of gendered selves, status and power differentials and the relationship between online and real-life identities.

Several short narratives are presented throughout this chapter, based on the actual personal and professional experiences of one of the authors, an early user of online games and virtual environments.

These narratives are used to discuss related theoretical perspectives on identity construction and management and highlight key psychological concepts relating to the presentation of self, including how the offline self impacts on the online self/selves and vice versa, and gendered interactions, deception and ethics in virtual worlds.


Virtual World Physical World Female Character Glass Ceiling Male Player 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag London Limited 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Glasgow Caledonian UniversityGlasgowUK

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